The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration is looking to hire a person to protect the Earth from alien contamination. The full-time position of a “Planetary Protection Officer” is open to all those who “owe their allegiance to the United States”, the job description says.
Nasa said that the officer will be in charge of ensuring that the neither human or robotic space exploration missions are contaminated in any way. They will also have the task of ensuring that microbes do not travel from the Earth to other planets or vice versa.
The three-year position has a security clearance of “secret” and will involve frequent travel. The position with Nasa comes with a salary of up to $187,000 (around Rs 1.2 crore) a year.
The posting was made on July 13, but garnered a lot of attention on social media on Wednesday, prompting several memes and jokes. In response, Nasa on Thursday uploaded a video to further explain the responsibilities of the planetary protection officer.
Despite the hoopla around the Nasa vacancy, the position has been around since 1967. It was created so the US complied with the International Outer Space Treaty. Catherine Conley has been holding the position since 2014.